- Grocers are hiring immediately for thousands of temporary, part-time and full-time positions across the U.S. in an attempt to restock bare shelves, sanitize stores and meet demand for online order fulfillment and delivery, according to various reports.
- Albertsons and Safeway are hiring for about 2,000 positions in Washington state, 4,000 positions across Texas and Louisiana and more in California, Nevada and Hawaii. H-E-B is hiring throughout Texas. Kroger is hiring more than 6,500 people nationwide at banners including Ralphs, Fred Meyer and Dillons. Costco and Walmart have also reported hiring efforts.
- Regional grocers like Raley’s and Winco are also trying to staff up. Available roles include e-commerce clerks, cleaning positions, stocking clerks, delivery drivers and personal shoppers.
Grocers are facing unprecedented pressure right now both in-store and online as customers continue to overwhelm stores to stock up on essentials or, in some cases, meet demand for panic purchases.
In addition to refilling empty store shelves, companies are in constant cleaning mode to block the spread of the coronavirus in brick-and-mortar locations. Increased demand from online shoppers who don’t want to go into crowded stores is also driving a major need for people who can pick, pack and deliver online orders.
Now could be a time for retailers to tap into the gig economy. While some gig workers are content to fill their contract-based roles and are busier than ever as people stay home, others are unsatisfied and would welcome the opportunity to go on staff, even temporarily.
Grocers may also pick up new staff from the pool of those who have been laid off or lost hours in other sectors since the outbreak. This may include former employees at small businesses, restaurants, non-grocery retail, bars and breweries. Drivers at the Port of Los Angeles who have been laid off could turn to trucking or delivery roles with grocery stores.
Beyond the soaring demand for labor both in-store and online, there’s also the possibility of existing workers falling ill amid the spread of the coronavirus, which means backup staff will need to be lined up.
New leave policies and paid sick time for those who do contract the virus make these jobs more attractive for candidates, too. Kroger has just instituted an emergency leave policy for employees diagnosed with COVID-19, offering 14 days of paid time off during quarantine. Trader Joe’s is also offering paid sick leave through April 15.
More companies could follow suit as the federal government gets involved. A bill that would offer two weeks of paid sick leave at 100% of a person’s normal salary is headed to the Senate.